New stats show
Data from payments processor Worldpay has revealed a ‘tale of two Brexits’ emerging in the first quarter of 2017, with healthy spending in the hospitality sector and a surge in foreign card spend off-setting more restrained spending by UK consumers on the high-street.
According to Worldpay, overall spending on cards was up 1.5 per cent* year on year in the first quarter of 2017. Spending in pubs and restaurants proved particularly robust, up 6.4 per cent* compared to 2016. Arts and leisure businesses, including tourist attractions, museums and theme parks also had a good quarter, with spending up 9.8 per cent* year on year.
Trading conditions on the high-street proved more challenging in the first quarter however, with total UK card spending on clothing and footwear down 4.6 per cent* compared to 2016. Department stores (-1.0 per cent*) and electronics retailers (-4.2 per cent*) also saw total UK card spend contract in the first quarter. Nevertheless, Worldpay points to significant growth in ecommerce and foreign card spending as potentially lucrative areas for growth among high-street retailers.
Total online spending grew 4.6 per cent*across clothing, department stores, and electrical retailers as a grouping. And while UK consumers were a little less likely to head out on a shopping spree in the first quarter, Worldpay’s data suggests the weakness of the pound brought deep-pocketed foreign tourists to the UK in their droves.
Department stores in particular saw non-UK card spend jump by 20 per cent* in the first quarter, while spending on electrical goods by ‘Brexit tourists’ was up 22.7 per cent* year on year. Among the biggest spenders, American tourists spent an extra 21.5 per cent* on their cards in the first quarter compared to 2016, while visitors from continental Europe spent an extra 14.3 per cent*.
Commenting on the data, James Frost UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “The overall spending picture across the UK remains a positive one, but retailers in particular are needing to work harder to make every opportunity pay. Online remains a significant area of untapped potential, providing retailers with a ready means to reach free-spending international shoppers, even when they’re not hitting the West-End in search of a bargain.
“Any retailer worrying about reduced footfall right now, needs to be looking at how they bring ecommerce more closely into the mix to reach a broader catchment of shoppers, both in the UK and internationally.”